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Alvin Journeyman by Orson Scott Card
Published by Tor Books
Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel
Alvin Journeyman is the long awaited fourth volume in Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series. It continues young Alvin's struggle to learn what his purpose in live as a Maker is and how he can build the Crystal City of his visions.
In doing so he must struggle through a tangled web of lies to prove his right to the magical golden plow he made and to secure the freedom of the half-Black boy Arthur Stuart, who is hunted by a cruel planter who raped his mother. At the same time Alvin's brother Calvin, heart twisted by bitterness, goes to Europe to learn the secrets of power from Napoleon.
In the end Alvin gets the curse lifted from the rest of his family while Calvin returns to use his Maker powers to kill William Henry Harrison by turning his inaugeration-day cold into pneumonia. Although it ties up the lines of this book's plot, it clearly leaves many things open for the next book. We can only hope that it doesn't take as long to produce that one as it did this.
This book is so good that I sat up until 2AM because I literally couldn't put it down. Luckily I was able to sleep in the next morning. There are some really neat tidbits in this novel, like the verse in the song about Alvin's journeying which concerns a dream he had and is clearly a reference to JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. It raises some interesting issues about subcreation that I hope that Card will explore further in later volumes of this series.
Alvin's story continues in Heartfire.
Click here to buy Alvin Journeyman in paperback.
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Review posted July 20, 1999
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